Golf: Former Masters champion Reed set for Aug 11-14 International Series Singapore

Patrick Reed is currently ranked 46th in the world, peaking at No. 6 in June 2020. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

SINGAPORE - Former Masters champion Patrick Reed will headline the Aug 11-14 International Series Singapore, which is part of the Asian Tour's US$300 million (S$414 million) partnership with the Saudi-back LIV Golf Investments.

The Singapore stop will be held at the Tanah Merah Country Club's (TMCC) Tampines Course next week, followed by the International Series Korea at the Lotte Skyhill Jeju Country Club a week later.

Both events will boast a purse of US$1.5 million, with the winner earning US$270,000.

American Reed, 31, has nine wins on the PGA Tour, including the 2018 Masters and the 2014 WGC-Cadillac Championship and 2020 WGC-Mexico Championship. He is currently ranked 46th in the world, peaking at No. 6 in June 2020.

Reed was indefinitely suspended last month from the United States-based PGA Tour after he joined the controversial LIV Golf Series, which has been labelled a "sportswashing" exercise designed to boost Saudi Arabia's international reputation in the light of its history of human-rights abuses.

Besides Reed, several big-name golfers have taken up membership with LIV and signed lucrative contracts. These include former Major champions Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, Bubba Watson, Brooks Koepka, Bryson DeChambeau and Sergio Garcia.

Reed's last outing was at last week's LIV Golf Invitational Bedminster in New Jersey, where he finished fifth. The event was won by another high-profile recruit Henrik Stenson of Sweden, 10 days after he was stripped of Europe's Ryder Cup captaincy.

The presence of an established star like Reed at an International Series event in Asia could be a sign of things to come.

The International Series' inaugural stop was at Thailand's Black Mountain Golf Club in March before the Slaley Hall Hotel, Spa & Golf Resort in England hosted the second leg.

Aside from Singapore and South Korea, further stops in the Middle East later this year are expected.

While announcing its schedule for 2023 last week, LIV Golf noted its players "are expected to compete in numerous International Series tournaments, bringing the world's top players to locations such as Thailand, England, Korea, Vietnam, the Middle East, Indonesia, China, Singapore, Hong Kong and new locations across the Americas and Europe".

Former world No. 3 Paul Casey, who played at this year's SMBC Singapore Open and is now a member of LIV Golf, last month revealed there had been WhatsApp messages among LIV Golf players to all play certain Asian Tour events together to boost the strength of field and therefore earn more world ranking points.

At the moment, golfers do not collect world ranking points in LIV events.

The Asian Tour resumes this week with the US$500,000 Mandiri Indonesia Open in Jakarta while next week's tournament at TMCC will feature Asian Tour Order of Merit leader Sihwan Kim, winner at Black Mountain, as well as winners on this season's Asian Tour Bio Kim, Scott Vincent and Sadom Kaewkanjana.

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